Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The most popular baby names December 6, 2010

WHERE DOES YOUR NAME rank among names for new babies?

I was surprised when my daughter, who was perusing a yahoo.com article, announced that Audrey is gaining in popularity.

Just how quickly?

According to babycenter.com, a website focusing on parenting and pregnancy, Audrey ranks 48th among the top 100 baby names for 2010. The name rankings are based on baby names shared by hundreds of thousands of parents.


My mom gave me this name plaque. Maybe I should ask why she gave me the name Audrey.

Apparently the choice of Audrey relates to the golden age of film stars like Audrey Hepburn and Greta Garbo. I’m not sure what that has to do with today’s parents selecting those actresses’ names.

So, what are the top baby names?

That depends on the source.

Babycenter.com lists Sophia as the most popular girl’s name for 2010, replacing first place Isabella last year.

Aiden, for the sixth year in a row, took the top place for boys.

If you check out the Social Security Administration website, which tracks name popularity based on Social Security card applications, you’ll find, like babycenter.com, that Isabella was the most popular girl’s name in 2009. The list for 2010 won’t be out until next May.

The Social Security Administration’s 2009 list rounds out, in order of popularity, with Emma, Olivia, Sophia and Ava. I find it interesting that the five most popular girl’s names all end in the letter “a.” I haven’t a clue why.

For boys, though, Jacob ranked at the top, a position held for the 11th year in a row. That was followed by Ethan, Michael, Alexander and William.

Aiden wasn’t even in the top 10 for 2009. Hmmmm. Figure that one out when you consider the babycenter.com results.

SO WHAT ABOUT MINNESOTANS? What do we stoic northerners name our newborns? The Social Security Administration can tell you that too. In 2009, Olivia topped the Minnesota list followed by Ava, Emma, Sophia and Isabella, the same names in the top five nationwide, but not in the same order.

As for boys, Logan was number one trailed by Benjamin, William, Ethan and Jacob.

And what about my name, the name that means noble and strong? Audrey was the 30th most popular name for newborn baby girls in Minnesota during 2009. Nationwide it ranked 49th.

I am somewhat surprised by that relatively high ranking, although not totally surprised. I know of two young women who recently named their babies Audrey and one who was considering the name.

When I was growing up, the only Audreys I knew, with one exception, were my mother’s age. But I was OK with that. At least I wasn’t a Mary, Debra, Linda, Deborah or Susan, the top five girl’s names in 1956, the year of my birth. I have nothing against those names. I just prefer a less common name.

For males born in 1956, the Social Security Administration lists Michael, James, Robert, David and John as the top five.

If you’re curious about your name, log onto that Social Security Administration website. It offers a wealth of information with baby name lists dating back to 1880, when the top five baby names were Mary, Anna, Emma, Elizabeth and Minnie for girls and John, William, James, Charles and George for boys.

You can look for the most popular names by birth year, by decade, by state and for twins. You can type in your name and check its popularity.

And, if you click on the link for the top five birth names from 1910- 2009, you’ll learn that Michael has held the top spot the most often—44 times. Mary has been on the girls’ list most often—46 times. I didn’t see Audrey anywhere on that 100-year list.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling